Diagnosis

As of 6/8/2022, the following additional tests are back online:

  • CDC-10475: Chagas Disease Molecular Detection
  • CDC-10238: Leishmania Species Identification

As of 2/24/2022, the following tests are back online:

  • CDC-10458: Chagas Disease Serology
  • CDC-10234: Parasites: Morphologic Identification
  • CDC-10520: Malaria: Morphological Identification

Each test request (order) requires preapproval by the CDC Parasitic Diseases Branch. Please contact dpdx@cdc.gov to request preapproval for your testing request. The preapproval for your request will include important details about current submission requirements and forms.

All other assays for serological, molecular, or characterization of parasitic diseases—and Trichomonas susceptibility testing—at CDC remain temporarily offline. We are working to restart additional testing as soon as possible for each test and will update this communication as soon as we are able.

CDC offers consultation to healthcare providers in the absence of diagnostic testing. Healthcare providers needing assistance with diagnosis or management of suspected cases of parasitic diseases may contact CDC’s Parasitic Diseases Hotline at (404) 718-4745, or e-mail parasites@cdc.gov.

Various laboratory methods can be used to diagnose leishmaniasis—to detect the parasite as well as to identify the Leishmania species (type). Some of the methods are available only in reference laboratories. In the United States, CDC staff can assist with the testing for leishmaniasis.

Tissue specimens—such as from skin sores (for cutaneous leishmaniasis) or from bone marrow (for visceral leishmaniasis)—can be examined for the parasite under a microscope, in special cultures, and by molecular tests. Blood tests that detect antibody (an immune response) to the parasite can be helpful for cases of visceral leishmaniasis; tests to look for the parasite (or its DNA) itself usually also are done.

More on: Resources for Health Professionals: Diagnosis

Light-microscopic examination of a stained bone marrow specimen from a patient with visceral leishmaniasis—showing a macrophage (a special type of white blood cell) containing multiple <em>Leishmania</em> <strong>amastigotes</strong> (the tissue stage of the parasite). Note that each amastigote has a <strong>nucleus</strong> (red arrow) and a rod-shaped <strong>kinetoplast</strong> (black arrow). Visualization of the kinetoplast is important for diagnostic purposes, to be confident the patient has leishmaniasis. (Credit: CDC/DPDx)

Light-microscopic examination of a stained bone marrow specimen from a patient with visceral leishmaniasis—showing a macrophage (a special type of white blood cell) containing multiple Leishmania amastigotes (the tissue stage of the parasite). Note that each amastigote has a nucleus (red arrow) and a rod-shaped kinetoplast (black arrow). Visualization of the kinetoplast is important for diagnostic purposes, to be confident the patient has leishmaniasis. (Credit: CDC/DPDx)

Page last reviewed: June 8, 2022